Hoeven: EPA Signs Proposed Rule to Approve ND Application to Regulate Class VI Injection Wells, Will Help Advance CCS Technologies

Since 2008, Hoeven Has Worked to Develop Regulatory Framework to Advance Geologic Sequestration Projects

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signed a proposed federal rule to approve the State of North Dakota’s application for regulatory primacy over Class VI injection wells, which are used for geological sequestration or long-term storage of CO2. Hoeven met with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last week to press for approval of the request, which will provide regulatory certainty to advance carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies for both traditional and renewable energy sources. The EPA Administrator signed the proposed rule to approve North Dakota’s application, which will be published in the federal register and open to a 60 day public comment period before being finalized later this year. 

“We appreciate Administrator Pruitt moving forward with the state’s application to be the primary regulator for Class VI wells,” said Hoeven. “We’ve worked since 2008 to develop a states-first approach to regulating geological sequestration, which will help our energy industry, both traditional and renewable, to develop new technologies for storing CO2. This is important as we work to develop clean coal technologies, as well as projects to sequester CO2 from ethanol production.”

As governor in 2008, Hoeven established the North Dakota CO2 Storage Workgroup, which was tasked with developing a regulatory framework for the long-term storage of CO2. The workgroup resulted in 2009 legislation granting regulatory authority over geologic sequestration of CO2 to the North Dakota Industrial Commission and established trust funds for state oversight and long-term liability. That legislation was amended in 2013 to meet new EPA standards. In June 2013, North Dakota submitted an application to become the primary regulatory body for Class VI injection wells, and the application has been pending at the EPA since then. Hoeven pressed Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to approve the state’s request and has been working to move the application forward with the new Administration.

Granting North Dakota regulatory primacy over Class VI wells will provide certainty for energy producers and will better enable the utilization of tax credits, so CCS technology can become more economically feasible.  

“Approving the state’s application will allow for North Dakota projects that have been patiently waiting to finally move forward.  The successful application of carbon capture yields enormous potential for many types of North Dakota energy,” said Lynn Helms, Director of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources.

“We appreciate Administrator Pruitt and Senator Hoeven for their work to allow North Dakota primacy in regulating Class VI wells,” said Gerald Bachmeier, Chief Executive Officer at Red Trail Energy, LLC. “This is important for North Dakota and will be the first step in helping Red Trail Energy to integrate carbon capture and sequestration at our ethanol facility, which will enable us to produce ethanol with a lower carbon intensity value.”

Red Trail Energy is working to integrate CCS at their Richardton, North Dakota plant to reduce the carbon footprint of the ethanol production facility.

“This decision will align the authority and attendant responsibility for regulatory oversight of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) projects to the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC). The NDIC’s proven ability to concurrently consider the environmental and economic priorities of North Dakota make them the appropriate first state for such primacy. The EERC is proud to have been engaged with the NDIC regarding the development and deployment of CCUS technology and policy since 2003,” said John Harju, Vice President for Strategic Partnerships at the University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center.